More and more people in affected industries are being laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s brought a new question — “How do I apply for unemployment?” — to the forefront of many people’s minds after a long stretch of record low unemployment.
Here’s How to Apply for Unemployment
In case you’re unfamiliar with how unemployment compensation works, employers are assessed an unemployment insurance charge every month as part of their payroll. That money goes into a fund that pays a benefit when an employee loses a job.
“I’m hearing a lot of people badmouthing unemployment compensation. There’s nothing shameful about it,” money expert Clark Howard says. “Employers pay premiums over time during the good years to provide for those who get laid off in lean times. It’s not beneath you to accept this insurance money.”
The application process for unemployment insurance varies by state. But in general, you’ll need the following info to get started:
- Your Social Security number
- Your name, date of birth and contact information
- Employer names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of employment within the last 18 months
- If you are a union member, the name and local number of your union hall
The big change since our last cycle of major unemployment during the Great Recession is that you can easily apply online now for unemployment benefits. There’s no longer a need to stand in line at an unemployment center.
Here’s how to start the application process by state:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Meanwhile, Nolo.com has a guide to unemployment benefits that you may want to consult if you have questions about how it works in your state.